FORT MYERS — A native of the Florida Panhandle, Nate Hicks relished the opportunity to play Florida State in Tallahassee in the first round of the NIT.
The return was not the homecoming he hoped it would be.
Hicks, a former Arnold standout and now a center on the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team, tore an anterior cruciate ligament and his medial meniscus in his knee during a 58-53 loss to the Seminoles in the NIT’s opening round on March 18. He will undergo surgery to repair the damage and is expected to be sidelined for the next six months.
Efforts to reach the school seeking an official date of the surgery were not returned.
Hicks, a 6-foot-10 center, suffered the injury with just over 17 minutes remaining in the game as he jousted for a rebound. He had scored two points and collected four rebounds in nine minutes of action before the injury.
“This is an unfortunate setback for Nate as he has been a key member for us in the low blocks all year, and in particular in the Florida State game,” FGCU coach Joe Dooley said. “Collectively as a staff we’ll monitor Nate’s recovery closely following surgery to gauge the progress he’s making.”
Hicks is graduating this spring but has a year of athletic eligibility remaining. He transferred from Georgia Tech to FGCU two years ago.
Hicks started 11 games and appeared in all 35 contests for the Eagles, who finished the season 22-13 overall. He averaged 4.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, and he led the team with a 58.9-percent field goal percentage. His 1.2 blocked shots per game ranked third in the Atlantic Sun Conference.